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1. Why Listen to the Reformers

Nicholas Miller


Nicholas Miller

Professor of Church History at Andrews University




  • June 19, 2017
    8:00 AM
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Why don't you join me with a word of prayer Dear Heavenly Father we thank you for your watch care over us we thank you for the great gift that we've been given in the freedoms that we have in this country the lamp that the Statue of Liberty holds at the entrance to the harbor where many many thousands and millions of people have come to enjoy the freedoms that have made America what it is today those freedoms are under stress and strain and we're call to witness to them that we're also called to witness to the greater freedom that Jesus Christ offers us and I pray that that we may faithfully do that and appreciate that freedom in our own lives I pray these things in your name and the men. So this is been a significant year this last year. Many people the experts historians not Adamkus eventual ists but others have said something dramatic is happening in our world is happening in America right would you agree with that the people have been very very surprised and even shocked at the folding of events over the last 6 months and as an Adventist I believe that these events have have something of a prophetic significance to them. I think we'd have to be blind not to see some level of that and so. The contrasts that we have in our country you know whichever wherever you are politically I'm not into partisan presentations I talk about principles not about political parties whichever side of the political divide you're on you have to admit that we've entered a new era of greater partisanship and disagreement and separation where we not only have different opinions but we're now developing different sets of facts right that there's different news outlets depending on which ideology you're a part of and those different news outlets report different kinds of facts different sets of facts and in a church that's committed to preaching the truth it's a very disturbing time when no 1 can seem to agree on basic fundamental things like what a fact is and this year is also significant for another reason it's the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago this year this coming October is the actual date October 31 Martin Luther hammered up his 95 species of release had been printed in Wittenberg challenging the salvation system of the Church of Rome challenging the system of indulgences and sparking what was really the greatest. Development change in the history of the West in fact a many historians who don't particularly aren't Christians or believe in. The Bible will still acknowledge that the beginning of the modern West was probably somewhere in the early 16th century they may not choose this date particularly but it's around this date and it's because what happened there fundamentally changed our view of how the individual should relate to the church in the state I'm going to get a little more into that in this presentation but I think part of the reason that we're having this conflict in our country is that we've forgotten our Protestant heritage right and we're splitting off to the left and off to the right is this Mike going to work for us OK He will thank you. So yeah that's probably better for you to sell. And we have a kind of hard core skepticism secularism on the left that wants to overthrow religious freedom and on the right in increasing response to that we have a perhaps an energized religious right that one's to institutionalize the Christian heritage of our country and both points of view seem to be overlooking what our true Protestant heritage teaches and I think it's in part as a historian it's in part due to the great historical amnesia that's overcome our country right reality television is about personal and characters and drama and a level of narcissism that's fascinating to watch but isn't really good for anyone and certainly doesn't tell you about history. It's a good thing that our church is so different and is so united on everything and we're a haven of peace in an otherwise divided world oh you're skeptical about there or are we or are we are we so different from the culture that surrounds us and that's the sad thing I don't know what your experience has been over the last year but for me personally I've been involved in some discussions in our church I was on the theology of ordination Study Committee over the last 2 or 3 years and it's just been a bit frustrating with the level of division frankly that we find in the church irrespective of your view on the issue you have to be discouraged by the intransigents that seems to be found on both sides and we seem to be not you know as as the greater divisions appear politically you'd like to be able to say but my membership my citizenship is in the heavenly kingdom in the church and that's where this haven is but the Haven isn't as much of a haven as we would like I think of for honest to write it we're not as separated as the world I think we're doing better than they are but sometimes you wonder how by how much. And I think that there are 2 issues are not unrelated right is it possible that we also have forgotten something about our progress and heritage that we also are being tossed around by the secular ideologies that are pressing from the right and the left and that if we had a clearer view of our Protestant heritage that maybe we would find some of these issues more resolvable and maybe we would have a greater unity and I want to suggest to you that that's the case and I want to suggest to you that it's very important that we do this because can we really go to a divided world and say we have the solution for your disunity and your fighting because we have such harmony here can we honestly say that these days I'm not sure we can I'm not saying we shouldn't evangelize and we shouldn't do our best but honestly why aren't people streaming into our church more than they are because we're really not reflecting the kind of unity and harmony that would attract them to be to be perfectly frank with you so we need to take a long hard look at our history and that's what I aim to do over the next 3 days and I'm going to spend today talking about America and its heritage and I'm going to be sharing with you some thoughts from my from a brand new book that literally came out last week in fact I 1st put my hands on a copy on Friday 500 years of protest and liberty from Martin Luther to modern civil rights and it's based on a bright and writing articles for liberty magazine for 25 years about America Protestantism and history and I approached him about doing a special version collection of those for the $510.00 of verse 3 of the Reformation and then I spent the last 6 months. Writing commentary on the latest developments this goes up to the election of Donald Trump and it basically asks the question Do you realize that more than 80 percent of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump and it raises the question as to whether Martin Luther's Reformation does the arc of that Reformation and the line of it the progress of it go from Martin Luther to modern civil rights maybe Martin Luther King Jr In the end the growth of civil liberties for minorities and other religious groups which is $11.00 possible way of looking at it or another way of looking at is it does it go from Martin Luther to the populism and nationalism of Donald Trump. It's a very fair question that you have to look at history closely to try to find the answer and that's what I do in this book and this book is especially written for non Adventists because it deals in many of the articles were for liberty magazine and the stuff that I wrote more recently I had a non-adult this audience in mind it's being advertised in Christianity today so journals on their websites on some other non ad and Christian outlets to try to bring the Adventist historic and prophetic perspective to the larger mainstream Christian audience you know we're going to have to do that at some point we do well at talking to ourselves. You know use the setting our foundations even deeper but this is a book that should be available in the A.B.C.'s and. I was told that a copy was given away earlier today so it sounds like they have a few wins so look for it there 1st I do have some extra copies with me and but I'm not going to sell those until they sell out at the A.B.C. because that's I want to support their business and their their shop over there but if they run out and I'm also. Doing volume discounts on these if you want to study have a religious liberty and history study group at your church I'm going to do 50 percent off if you buy 10 so that you can do a study groups and I've got some with me to do that so I'll talk about that book here in the next couple of minutes tomorrow I'm going to start on this book the reformation of the remnant which is also about the Protestant Reformation but this is written especially for Adventists what can we learn from the reformers that will help us be more united in our church right there's a the most extreme voices in a variety of debates whether it be ordination or creation or the sanctuary sort of seem to keep everyone's attention but there's a. A broad vast I would call it. Biblically balanced heritage that we have that the loud voices often cause us to overlook and it's kind of a book of additives hot potatoes with a wide variety of topics from Sunday laws on the last day of events. Ordination creation the various other things but looked at through the prism of church history in the reformers and what can they tell us and I believe that's also at the at the A.B.C. So without further ado let's begin I'm talking about. This question How to Make America Great Again this was a campaign slogan I think we heard right and while it was May be used in a partisan way hopefully the general idea is something we can all agree on don't we want to make America great again and I think it's you know I put again in brackets because I think we need to acknowledge that for some people some groups of people America really has never been truly great like when was the golden age of America the founding fathers in the Constitution when we had slavery America wasn't great if you were an African-American then we had the Civil War and that was better but we had segregation as a legal matter for another 100 years. And we've had the conflicts we've had for the last 30 or 40 even after formal segregation ended and it's not ending is it we just had a case a criminal decision that not guilty Young another young black man shot in his car with no apparent reason for doing so and whatever your race or nationality you have to feel badly when these kinds of misunderstandings keep on happening and they're happening in a certain direction right I haven't seen a lot of videos with white young men being shot by police very very rarely happens so there is something that our society is is certainly wrestling with but having said all of that and we want to acknowledge its flaws and its shortcomings and the need for greater appreciation for various groups America has been a relatively great country right which country if you travel around the world do people want to emigrate to they want to come to America right whether they're black white yellow whatever yeah they know about the racism in their stories but they still want to come here right because we do some things right here we've done some things right the stand. Living the freedom the there's there's plenty of things poor people in America live far better than poor people in most other countries right we have a lot to be thankful for so there's a website Liberty 500 dot com where these books are sold like I said if you're buying single copies the A.B.C. is your place but these. 10 or more the mass production ones you can get at this website if you can't get them from me here so in the 1900 century most American historians believe they understood the basis of America's greatness they said it was based on 2 things a combination of Republicanism and Protestantism What are those things where Republicanism is the idea that government should be and Lincoln put it very simply of the people and by the people and for the people so a representative democracy and how do you make sure that the government leaders work on behalf of the people well our Constitution created 3 branches of government the separation of powers checks and balances between the 2 an independent judiciary and then a free press to kind of watch it all this was all part of what a republican government what was meant by a republican government and Protestantism Protestantism was shorthand for the rights of conscience specifically for religious liberty but it also extended to the other freedoms that you needed to have if you were going to have true religious freedom freedom of association freedom of speech freedom from intrusion into your rights and freedom from being unfairly jailed all of those flowed from this notion of conscience and a fundamental core set of human values Ellen White herself said this about republicanism in Protestantism that Republicanism in Protestantism became the fundamental Prince of. Poles of the nation she's talking about the founding of America the Declaration of Independence and the constitution and she says works these principles are the secret the secret of its power and prosperity now those 2 words she uses their power and prosperity 1 is financial and economic the other in a sense is more military and it can defend itself it can take on the nations of the earth but notice the order she puts these things in there is republicanism and Protestantism and this is what produces prosperity in power so if we're wanting to make America great so American greatness this potent mix of free government free people and free enterprise seem to carry the day in the 20th century right even nations opposed to it like China Cuba or the Muslim countries had to suppress their people to prevent it from spreading right what's the Great Wall in China these days it's not the wall that they that you can take pictures on it's the wall that keeps large parts of the Internet away from their people. And why do they do that because they know the power of basically ideas of representative democracy and freedom the Muslim governments have to do a similar thing and it's sort of a recognition that this is the idea that has won the day intellectually and if you don't want it then you have to suppress it. It was a natural tipping point in fact this made 1 intellectual in the 1990 S. wrote a book called The End of History right there after communism fell this proves that a liberal democracy and he didn't mean liberal like the Democratic Party but liberal as in the classical sense of freedoms and checks and balances. Was in fact. The best form of government and everyone agreed on it but then something happened at the end of the 2nd millennium we had the terrorist attacks on $911.00 and we had to respond to that and we responded to that in ways that weren't entirely consistent with our liberal democratic outlook of constitutional rights. We carried out we held people in prison for more than a decade without having them see a trial we did a number of things that when other nations used to do it we told them those are not up to the standards of a democratic constitutional government you need to do better than we started doing those things what happens to our liberal democracy now the Arab Spring happened in 2010 you remember all those people taking to the streets in Cairo and Syria and Jordan Well we hope that democracy was going to break out maybe this was the delayed response to our invasion of Iraq but what happened in all of these places it kind of sputtered out and it devolved back into strongman rule scholars began to question the very notion of the universe ality of human rights perhaps this notion was just a Western tool of imperialism to impose its outlook and its agenda on the developing world and as under the Obama administration in fact we began to lay down mandates on African and South American countries that they adopt our L G B T policies if they were going to receive so there was some some possible facts to support that and then of course there was a renewed populist nationalism in England Brecht that. If you follow that it was a great surprise to the intellectuals and then when Donald Trump won here whatever you think of Donald Trump he wasn't a huge advocate of of. Checks and balances and divided government and a free press and all the things all the things that I stated go with a republican form of government were not things that he was a big fan of right now maybe there's other ways to solve problems and I'm not going to say who you shouldn't or shouldn't of voted for at this point but it is a step away at least from the American view of Republicanism and even more troubling on the Protestant front Protestantism Now religious freedom were some remarks that were made during the campaign you may in fact address this got caught up in this do you remember he went before certain Christian groups and said I'm going to bring you Christians back in to influence positions of power and authority in this country there's enough of you that we should do this but did he mean that for all Christians in fact you may recall when Ben Carson was challenging him in the Iowa polls. He felt the need to point out Ben Carson and squished in a bow heritage right he said I'm a Presbyterian that's right down the middle of Christianity but 7th Day Adventists I don't know about them right. So what sort of Christianity is he proposing to it's going to be mainstream central but you religious minorities. And then I think it's the 1st time that a president has ever promised to keep out a whole religious group from the country now I know we have problems with I'm from England I was born in England and we've just had some terrorist attacks there and we need to be careful and we need to screen people when we bring them in there's no doubt about those things but to suggest that 1400000000 people in the world the vast majority of who are peaceful citizens and certainly in our country that we can exclude them all based on their religious identity is really a direct attack on this notion of Protestantism is to suggest that Protestantism really is only for Christians. Various European nationalist groups play up their Christian Identity in Europe being anti Islamic is a very. Popular. Political move on the right wing of various European political parties but I would suggest that that his view of Christianity in the government has more to do with medieval versions of Christianity support of centralized power structures in both church and state and what you do with unbelievers is sort of become civil enemies what in the Middle Ages what happened to unbelievers we had an inquisition for the internal ones and we had jihad not jihad but a Crusades That's the Western Christian notion of jihad. To to attack foreign lands unbelievers well these days we use civil force in other ways travel bands of course I'm not saying we're at the Middle Ages but the point is we're suddenly begin it becoming willing to use civil force to defend or support certain groups based on their religious identity not hopeful direction and I would say that in fact this version of Christian dumb. Differs very much from the version of Protestant views of church and state that our country was founded on. What great America is it that we're being promised to return to you know various people have talked about America the great society that's often associated with Lyndon B. Johnson in the reforms of the late sixty's the progressive era in the 1920 S. but those aren't those aren't the things that the candidates from where it was interested in. He seems to actually jump over our constitutional founding the republicanism of Protestantism to go back to our colonial founding Now you may be familiar with this that not everyone who 1st founded America was fully supportive of religious freedom. Right even the Puritans and the Pilgrims when they came to Massachusetts they were interested in religious freedom for themselves but not so much for others so if you were a Baptist you were asked to leave pretty quickly and in fact Roger Williams was going to get sent back to England and he had to flee into the wilderness where he founded Rhode Island but it was a very difficult task that he undertook others were less fortunate Quakers were also ejected from the colony and some of them they kept coming back and if they came back in the mid 17th century a number of Quakers were hanged on Boston column Boston Common soley for their religious beliefs so in New England the Puritans they had a representative form of government it's interesting from Calvin we do seem to get the notion of churches electing their elders to represent and oversee the people and this translated into forms of government that were the same so member what I said about republicanism will Republicanism actually has been strongly influenced by the Puritans in the Calvinists but it just goes to show you can have a democracy without individual rights right you have a democracy where the majority if you heard the tyranny of the majority so the majority can vote away the rights of the minority and this is very much what New England was like you had a representative government but you didn't have a constitutionally limited government you didn't have individual rights for the people. In the middle colonies you actually didn't have much Republicanism you did have some there but the middle colonies were and Virginia were royal proprietorships where Royal governors oversaw the colonies and so oddly enough Trump seems to be choosing the greatness that he's talking about in America from these early colonial examples that the founders of our country when they created the Constitution actually rejected when you go to our Constitution. They drew the principles of representative government from New England so you can't say New England didn't have an impact it did it was an important 1 the separation of powers of representative government but they very consciously chose the religious and civil freedoms of the middle colonies of Pennsylvania of Delaware and Maryland and I think they would be very surprised at the suggestion that natural national greatness attached to the opposite principles in effect I want to go back and give you a little historical. Story in miniature that I think illustrates how America became great and it's the story of Pennsylvania and William Penn actually consciously saw Pennsylvania as implementing these principles and as being an example for a larger nation William Penn founded Pennsylvania in 1682 you know he wasn't an egomaniac he didn't name the colony for himself it was actually named for his father who was a famous British admiral and who the king was indebted to for his service during the war and actually Pennsylvania was given to William Penn as sort of payment for the debt that the king of his father and so the Royal British government named it Pennsylvania. And put Pennsylvania but William Penn was in charge of writing the laws and he was a Quaker who had experience on the continent with some of the dissenting Protestants and he had developed a feel logical and philosophical belief in the right of individuals to worship God as they were convicted as they were led by scriptures and as they were led by the light of the Spirit internally and government should not impose coerce or even promote religion it is the only colony that from the beginning and throughout never raise tax monies to support religious churches or teachers. It is the only colony that from its inception and throughout actually gave Catholics and Jews the ability to worship publicly even Maryland that was founded by Catholics and developed the Anglican majority and they remove the rights of Catholics to worship publicly he founded in a famous statement he called Pennsylvania the seed of a nation he envisioned that these principles would guide the larger nation what were these principles if you read through the laws and I read through them just as a matter of interest a few months ago they had an independent judiciary they had a rule of law and due process they did even though they had a royal governor they had a representative accountable legislature and the executive was strongly committed to civil rights and liberties of the people William Penn was only 1 of the only few founders who actually paid the Native Americans a fair amount for the land that he took from them the other 1 who did this was Roger Williams It's interesting that these were both advocates for religious freedom the equal treatment of people of all religious beliefs was rooted in Pen's Protestant beliefs about the rights of conscience given by a creator Now this was very interesting because Pennsylvania was founded several decades after Massachusetts in afternoon York but Philadelphia quickly became the largest city in the colonies because what happened William Penn toward Europe and he spoke to different persecuted groups there the Moravians in the hue going to vote in the Anabaptists Catholics and Protestants countries and Jews and he said come to Pennsylvania it doesn't matter what you believe read Logistically we will use your talents and your skills and you can be part of our colony and so they came pouring in English Quakers and German radians French Cubanos. And soon Philadelphia surpassed both Boston and New York in size and commercial prosperity Now this was a new thing. It became the largest city in the colonies and by the 720 S. It's called the Athens of North America you know have you ever wondered why it's Philadelphia where the the constitutional convention in the Declaration of Independence and well it is the it is like the New York City of its day it's bigger than New York it's more important and it's does these things and people realize this because of not in spite of but because of the religious freedom that it offers and this blows a number of collective minds because the theory up until this time is to have a successful country a politically socially militarily strong and unified country you all need to believe the same thing religiously right we're going to be knighted by our beliefs about God and then we'll move forward and this is what generated a lot of the persecution and the marginalization to try to stamp out these groups but here you have Pennsylvania and Philadelphia showing vividly that the opposite might be true that if you or offer freedom that you will in fact grow and they did and I don't think it's it's an accident the you know we talk about Roger Williams and Rhode Island and they did have a similar government there but it was up off on the edge of the colonies and it was not overly successful for its 1st few decades it was viewed as kind of this nutcase extreme place full of anarchists and Libertines and it didn't get going for a few decades where Pennsylvania almost immediately prospered and Jefferson Madison and many others pointed to Pennsylvania as being the model for what we should do as Americans Pennsylvania they say it has got it and I don't think it's a coincidence that our national constitution was written in Pennsylvania. Amidst diversity and prosperity of Penn's experiment you know there they were living amidst it and why not have this reflected in the Constitution and I believe it was but of an important point from this is that Pennsylvania's success was not based on its business acts human or its military might in fact quite the opposite the Quakers were pacifists and for the 1st few decades they had problems defending against the Indians because the Quakers simply refused to authorize money for gunpowder and guns. It was the commercial success and prosperity was caused by the principles of open accountable government and a principled embrace of religious and ethnic diversity and I would suggest that some of the ideas been floated around these days is to try to reverse that right we are going to become militarily and financially great by constricting people's freedoms and keeping out peoples of various religious groups well this is to get it exactly backwards at least if our history is telling us anything but I have a question tonight and because the book is entitled 500 years of protest and liberty and William Penn is only about 300 years ago and I have to go back a couple of 100 years and explain this story where did William Penn get his ideas from and what were they in particular that caused this commitment to religious freedom and I'm going back to Martin Luther and his view. Of the world as he was growing up Martin Luther grew up in the Middle Ages in the medieval world and they had a view of church and state and the individual is a little bit small here so I'm not sure but I'll describe it to you there is a tea at the top here and it stands for truth and God and of course everybody believe that truth existed and God existed and it was exhibited in the Bible and these truths about church and about states were communicated to the leaders of the church in the state on behalf of or to oversee the individual OK now there are some important features of this chart. That the individual is a lower case because the individual most individuals unless you are a church leader you didn't play a role in obtaining this truth you were just kind of the recipient of it and you had sort of a pope a papal infallibility and cardinals and priests who would mediate that truth to you and let you know what you needed to know and if you fell short of it or then you could confess to them and receive forgiveness and salvation and they mediated all that to you and it was very similar on the state side the Divine Right of Kings but God chose the king and the king was it was the state that's what Louis the 14th said and then he oversaw and because everyone was member of the church and state you were baptized as a baby after all right. You were overseen by this church in the state that would cooperate together to keep this unity of spiritual and civic ideas together this was the world that Martin Luther is born into and there's a couple of other important things to notice in this view of the world there's no meaningful way to talk about rights so if the fundamental right is liberty of conscience what is the idea of conscience based on that that you believe something that you have a religious duty to God that conflicts with something that church or the state or both of them together are wanting to do right that's I have to stand for my conscience because somebody is trying to force me to do something else well if in fact you get your religious truth from the church in the state. Then how can you disagree with them how can you stand up against them right you can't so there was no meaningful talks about rights in fact the word right is used but the word right in that D.N.A. means the right thing for you to do right your right place in society is an individual member of the church and you have the right to do that which you rightfully do and the church and the state will tell you what that rightfully to do thing is so that was a right it was a objective thing that the church would tell you it wasn't this this sense that you a personal right so. This was this was the way and I capitalized the C. because the church was considered the senior partner you may remember Charlemagne being crowned by the pope and the church is to oversee and be the and the church had a whole lot of society that would overlook it ran the marriage courts and the wills in the states unconfined and often its members leaders couldn't be investigated by the civil state it would investigate itself the loser came along and he came up with 2 or 3 ideas that you've heard of. Sola scriptura the authority of scripture but what does the authority of scripture mean if the Pope tells you what the Scripture how it's to be understood. The authority of scripture only means something if you can actually read it for yourself and understand it and apply it so the sola scriptura was followed very closely by another doctrine of his called the priesthood of all believers which is that we didn't have to go through this system of mediation but that we could learn truths from God directly through prayer through the Bible and through bible study and apply and we had the right and the duty to do this right and apply it to our lives and so what Luther did and he was very clear on this early in his life that because of this because of this chart so this was the revolution of Luther in a diagram truth and God still exists at the top right but now you flip these top bottom. This bottom triangle rather than the church and state media going to the individual the individual now has direct access to God through prayer and through bible study and this is the idea of the priesthood of believers and so now the church in the state becomes supporting organizations which are meant to aid and assist the individual in seeking God in seeking truth and of course this is very simplified and they're still the state has a role in punishing crime isn't Anarky right this is this is representing really a spiritual outlook and because the individual has a right to God And here's the here's the fundamental point if this really exists this right and duty to God then the state can't interfere with this relationship and require you to do something else there must be a freedom and therefore the beginnings of the separation of church and state come about where the church can provide teachings and counsel but it can't use the coercive arm of the state to implement it and. Luther actually took this quite seriously early on he said the magistrate shouldn't decide what heresy is the magistrate shouldn't decide what books you can read that should be left to the individual and the church should only use persuasion Well that didn't last long after a few years there was some riots in the peasants revolted and he backed away from this vision but there were some Anabaptists who were 1st Lutherans and they kept these ideas alive and going to talk more about the Anabaptists probably on Tuesday but they transmitted his ideas to the English Baptists who transmitted them to men like John Milton and John Locke and Roger Williams And then we have the story of America in Pennsylvania that we earlier touched on but the important point here is that now you suddenly have the concept of rights that become possible because the individual can have knowledge can have a conscience that isn't based on what the state or the Church tell him. And other rights begin to flow from that and so the individual I now put as capitalized in the church in the state are both capitalized because they're kind of independent but equal they're overseeing separate spheres the state is looking after the civil spear of the temple sphere of this world the church is concerned with spiritual and religious things but neither of them are exercising coersion in appropriately over the individual except as the individual is harming or or causing. Infringing the rights of others. And if this is true of the Church of papal infallibility is no longer the case how long was it until people began to question the Divine Right of Kings and that political truths were also given directly to an aristocracy and I think if you want to understand how the medieval world went from papal infallibility and the Divine Right of Kings to Lincoln's government of the people and by the people and for the people. There's the simplest explanation is that this model became implicitly the way that Western Europeans and Britishers and Americans began to think about themselves in relation to church and state and it took more than decades and even took centuries but soon this theory worked itself out in support of ical philosophy in practice and our world changed now I wish that it ended there but it doesn't there's 1 other model I have to share with you because it explains our modern world this explains how our Constitution was thought about and put together but our modern world operates on a somewhat different framework and it's based on a framework that came out of the Renaissance in the liberal skeptical radical in lighten and it also has some truth at the top but it's no longer a capital T. It's a bunch of small lowercase t's have you heard the phrase what's true for you may be true for you but it's not true for me right this is the most popular thing to say about morality or values or you're welcome to your morality and your values but don't. Require them of me right because we only believe now in these lower case T. truths Thomas Paine Thomas Jefferson tended to believe this that rights of freedom had to do more with the fact that there weren't no truths that you could be sure of and therefore you shouldn't implement them well what happens who's the greatest threat to the system of lower case T. Truth toleration is people who actually believe that there are moral absolutes and moral truths and who are those people religious people often Christians and so Christians so there's a separation between church and state but it's based really rather than a healthy respect for the 2 spheres it's based on a fear that religious people are going to mess up the public square. And that organized religion is essentially a bad thing which Thomas Jefferson believed and reason is given very very strong priority over the Bible or special revelation and so this see is now lowercase B.S. is upper case because the separation of church and state is based on a hostility towards religion and you can see various organizations in our society today that run on this kind of philosophy the A.C.L.U. People for the American way various left wing groups are very strong on individual rights but they tend to be somewhat hostile towards religious groups and religious freedom and it's because they're largely operating on this model here. Church and State are separate and the individual is actually I put him in lower case because when there are no transcendent absolutes no moral certainties of any kind it's not hard for the concerns of the majority to override whatever rights exist of the individual so you may remember after 911 when they began using enhanced interrogation techniques which we used to call torture that a number of left wing academics including Alan Dershowitz at Harvard wrote in defense of the use of torture right because if you're going to keep me safe then I'm willing to sacrifice a lot of lowercase treeless of somebody else to keep me safe there's no sort of idea of a fundamental image of God in man that is just wrong to torture and you just shouldn't do it because of because of the image of God in man so in a sense this skeptical in Lightman becomes the prevailing philosophy in the 20th century and is the philosophy of the elites of the Academy of mostly of Hollywood and now you understand the 3 models. That define the history of our country right because this isn't just about the 1st model on the left here is the medieval world right truth and God at the top church and state working together over the individual and that existed in Puritan New England so we had it in America even after the Protestant Reformation here is the dissenting Protestant view Roger Williams William Penn John Locke a healthy separation between church and state there were still values of truth in this in the political sphere moral values of truth that could be enforced so they worked. They were opposed to slavery on political grounds they were supportive of the traditional family on civil moral grounds not just religious grounds they would be amazed at this L G B T transgender ideology that's overtaking our country in the name of civil rights but then this goes away this model by the beginning of the 20th century It's this model that's now put into place there are no true this is only a relative outlook and I would suggest that this model while it was never fully embraced by the popular mind was really dealt an even more severe blow by the events of 911. You know after 911 happened people said this is nonsense there is truth of evil and there is good and we need to go and beat that evil in the Middle East and I can remember I put this chart together within about 6 months of 911 happening because it it it came to my mind that in rejecting this model most Americans didn't understand this model and they their default was to return to something like this. And you may remember a few months after 911 John Ashcroft came to Congress to answer questions about what the government did after 911 you may not know this but there were a couple of 1000 people that were rounded up and held for. At least a couple of months without access to lawyers and their family I mean it was it was very. Unusual and other things began to happen shortly after this Guantanamo Bay was opened up and so there were legitimate questions about during times of crisis how far do you go in changing constitutional rights and so Congress had called on the art Ashcroft to come and testify about what was happening and what the tradeoff was between security and liberty and it was right to do the people were calling the executive branch to account to find out what was happening and I thought that he was going to come in and say well to keep people safe we had to take these steps and it was justified because of you know these threats that existed and we had this evidence but he didn't begin that way at all he began by saying how dare you question the patriotism and the motives that we would have in keeping Americans safe you need to trust your government to do the right thing. And when something like that is said which model are we working from here right is government acting as a servant of the people. Or is government acting as the paternal overseer of the people that you are to trust and just allow them to do there and you know I don't want to pick on John Ashcroft. Slowly or even fully he actually did some very impressive things later on in standing up against the administration people in the administration who wanted to abuse powers even further and he was in a hospital bed and he refused to sign these documents and so he was part of a mindset that was getting caught up in to trust us we're the government did anyone follow the Snowden affair. And I don't want to get into the debate about whether he did the right thing or not in releasing the material but what he released showed the government having an enormous amount of oversight. Over our information and our documents and our privacy in ways that certainly Congress had not been that we hadn't been briefed on or the kind of thing that flows very much from this kind of model here and during our campaign I would suggest you know to be fair no nope group is entirely over here everybody believes in some troops and no group is entirely over here we don't have the Inquisition in the Crusades yet but I would say that political parties are kind of bunched along the edges here and as our polarization increases we're pushing each other further 1 way and the other way and we are forgetting about our Protestant heritage here see this group values maximally freedom right liberty and freedom and maybe equality this group is concerned about morality and security and freedom to because they feel you can't really have freedom if you don't have some level of security and morality. But what we overlook is that this model in the middle has some. Of both it's a balance where there are truths and there is morality but there's a separation of church and state so you have to be very careful about which truths you allow the government to enforce and spiritual truths and religious discrimination should be off the table entirely but other truths moral human truths about nature and about the family are things that we can discuss and take into account in ways that this this group has rejected so. In coming to I just have a few minutes left here and I want to allow sometimes for a question and answer but I'm hoping that you see what flows from this if this is our heritage and I would say that Adventists understand this a little more than most Americans because reading the great controversy and why it is very clear on these principles of Protestantism and Republicanism and she says that when America you see she doesn't just say they'll be a Sunday lot of Protestantism will be overturned she says that America we're puti a every principle of Republicanism and Protestantism in its constitution and when that happens national rule and will shortly follow. So I think as as American citizens as American Christian citizens that we need to be we need to care about not just can I keep my Sabbath but what's happening to the whole system that actually protects my ability to keep the Sabbath because if we don't say anything until the Sabbath is directly threatened Well the whole framework of checks and balances of press freedoms of of separation of powers and of individual rights that allows us to say anything about the Sabbath will be done right and we won't have borne our testimony carried our witness spoken out as we could and as we should have about the tremendous heritage we have as dissenting Protestants in America today who understand something about our heritage that much of our country has forgotten so that's a that's I see a I see I have a vision for. Civic engagement with our churches in our church members on these kinds of issues that will lead very easily into more spiritually focused and based discussion. So the. Tomorrow we'll talk about how these models relate to the belief in our church and the development of the ology in in the history of promise and says I'm. But tonight are there any questions about this as I've said it out what it means what we can do as Adventists to try to support and get the word out about the middle model. I understand they are being recorded I've got it here in the you know so mad I'm happy. With our lives and it. You know them. That sort of the lips. That you know like most of our universities are you know base very much on this model right is your point and I think Christian education hopefully most of the time is is here but you know it's hard not to be influenced by your environment so Sometimes we're more over here. And we struggle too and tomorrow I'll talk a bit about how sometimes we struggle to to keep in mind that we have the secular influences that we need to be concerned with but you know I make these sorts of presentations at the seminary at Andrews and I speak with the people in the history department and in the teachers there are generally aware of of this progression and that much of what goes on in the name of. Liberalism today this is this is what I would call classic liberalism and this is modern secular liberalism. And so sometimes people think that the word liberal just means bad if you're a Christian but really classical liberalism I think is a kind of secularized version of Protestant beliefs and is a positive thing but in the last 100 years it's this liberalism that has developed as the philosophy of of the left that has really become a very anti-God philosophy essentially and this becomes not outwardly an anti God philosophy it claims to be a very godlike philosophy but it's this is the this is the structure of the Dragon right and can this a good question to ask is can this structure ever actually come into our church. Sometimes we can become confused both in the state and in the church so. We can we can be more clear on these things at times but I think we we we try to make this clear down at Andrews University anyway and here is. A serious student of history. Where discussing issues related to this. Very cover it is a very simplistic view of the shared her. Yeah. Yet I mean so. A tendency for Adam this is to say the world is going to hell in a handbasket Very quickly let's just preach our message and save a few as we can and you know it's right that's why our our pioneers are so remarkable because they had a similar outlook on the end of the world they thought it was coming in their day and yet they were actively involved in abolition anti-slavery movements they actively Ellen White spoke to her largest audiences in to promote laws against the use of alcohol select why I try to make society a safer place through alcohol if it's just all going you know the prophet of the Lord who could be preaching gospel sermons said no this time is valuable for me to try to impact the laws of the state and so I struggle with this a bit as well how is it that we were going downhill and I guess the end there's 2 answers I think 1 is that by trying to do these things you're witnessing to principles that the larger community needs to know about and to sometimes people are actually successful in improving things at least for a short period of time right the African-Americans are very glad that slavery is over and that formal discrimination is gone there are still problems but it ain't like it used to be and I think that you know and I'm going to talk more about this in the next day or 2 that they had a notion of a moral government of God that was got was coming but also that we were working for here and now and that we actually help people appreciate the coming moral kingdom of God as we sought to bring its principles into play in our world now and we've lost that to some extent as Adventists and we need to recover it you sort of it but. Are you going. To get a new there. Is some of that will come out in the next couple of days yeah yeah. Yes madam. Oh. OK so classical liberalism here in the middle. And. Well classical conservatism actually overlaps with. Classical liberalism it's very similar but the conservatism today is very much in the kind of you know the thing about Donald Trump Fortunately fortunately he doesn't seem to mean half the things he said right. That's like 1 of the best things you think that can be said and he will often he will often send out tweets or say things that are like directly in the middle of this muddle but then he'll actually operate you know he didn't bend all the Muslims right he's done a much more selective travel ban from 6 countries that frankly would be somewhat defensible if it wasn't for all the rhetoric that he put around it so it's often not what he does that's the problem it's what he says and what he but the but this is that this is the danger for us as a community is that. What he says is so radical that you would hope that Americans wouldn't support it but the reality is that despite saying these radical things he's getting support which indicates that while Donald Trump you know if Donald Trump is really has the spin on it he was pro choice in the way he messes around and but he says memo there's opportunity here and he says stuff that's here even though he's not but the scary thing is that millions and millions and millions of Americans seem to think that this model is really the way to go forward but look the problem isn't Donald Trump the problem is Americans who have lost sight of their true constitutional heritage of what dissenting Protestantism was about and as Adventists we believe we are heirs of the Protestant Reformation and part of our message has to be a recovery of this common sense balanced understanding of morality and freedom where conscience can be respected and morality can still be promoted and we can have a society that is civil and works. On. Twitter Well if Hillary Clinton was president she would be governing from here right or at least from this edge of here and we would be facing a different set of problems and threats and 1 more from the old G.B.T. and transgender which she would continue to promote and push in ways that that but prophetically prophetically where do we believe that the final problem comes from is it a secularist who denies God or is it a religious zealot who wants to impose worship and frankly some people talk about the pendulum swinging back away from Trump. But I'm not sure the pendulum is swinging again I think this could be the final pathway into events that we've talked about I'm couldn't. I don't know for absolutely certain of course but as a theologian and a historian this is is remarkable and moment for that to happen as we've ever had in our history that's for sure it's power heads Dear Heavenly Father we thank you for your watch care over us we are grateful for the heritage that we have received is the faithful reformers lifted high of the Gospel torch and that torch also impacted our world in the kinds of governments that were formed in the freedoms that we enjoy and as we see the light of understanding about that dimming in our day and age we pray that we can be faithful witnesses both to the Gospel and to the heritage that we have been given with us from here we pray these things in your name name in. This media was brought to you by audio produced a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio version or if you would like to listen to more sermon leave it to W W W dot audio verse or.


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